No, I’ve never read the NEA’s material, or at least not with any regularity. I know what the standard leftist line on education is, and I would be surprised if the NEA said anything new here. I read the Columbia University Teachers College Record from time to time, to keep up with Leftist thinking on the subject, and try to read anything writting in English on Mathematics Education from whatever source.
Although it’s painfully clear that most ‘educational research’ is vacuous, even where it’s not just leftist attitudinizing. [Leftists are capable of writing some useful things, it must be said: the leading Leftist thinker on Mathematics Education is Stanford’s Jo Boaler, a hard leftist. But some of her books on teaching mathematics have useful ideas. It’s too bad she has said, on record, that children do not need to learn their times tables … I wonder if she really believes that?]
The best single source on education in general is Education Next. A cognitive psychologist who really understands how we learn things, and who is not subject to the fads of the ed-world (like ‘learning styles’), is Dan Willingham. His **Science and Education blog is must reading for anyone interested in real education.
The single most important factor in producing well-educated children is the quality of the teachers. If teaching is not paid well, and/or if the students are unpleasant to be around, you will perhaps get a few saints teaching, but most of your teaching staff will be mediocre at best, especially at the 6-12 level.
Pay teachers well, and get the disrupters, thugs, and wasters into that school-to-prison pipeline as quickly as possible, and you’re on your way to a decent educational system.
But we do need to change the curriculum. The curriculum, after sixth grade, ought to reflect the needs and abilities of the student. Charles Murray said that we ask too much of the bottom third, and too little of the top, and I agree with him.
It’s pointless, in my opinion, to try to make every child learn how to factorize a quadratic equation, and it’s wrong to believe that the success of an educational system can be measured by what percentage of its graduates go on to college.
Our system has been shaped by the middle class, without much consideration for the needs of working class kids, and we have ended up with a large number of kids going to third-rate colleges where they don’t learn much of anything useful.